The Active Travel Fund is one of several funding streams set up by the government to support its Gear Change strategy.
The funding is available for local authorities to bid for with the intention that the various projects would support and help deliver the cycling and walking strategies described in authorities Local Cycling and Walking Investment Plans (LCWIP). Warrington’s plan was published in December 2019 and includes an aspirational cycling network which is being steadily delivered using government and internal funding sources.
The first round of the Active Travel Fund was issued during the early months of the Covid pandemic and named as the “Emergency Active Travel Fund”. This provided funding to help deliver the first stages of a number of temporary improvements to meet the demand for active travel within Warrington. Schemes that were delivered included:
- Making some footways wider to help with social distancing
- Providing new barriers and signs to create dedicated cycle lanes and help make it safer for cyclists
- Traffic signals have been changed to provide more ‘green time’ for pedestrians and cyclists
- Making changes to the town centre roads to reduce through traffic and make it more friendly for pedestrians and cyclists
- Widening and resurfacing cycle routes into the town centre to create long-lasting and fit-for-purpose cycleways
- More cycle parking has been provided within the town centre
- Well used footpaths and cycle paths have been widened
- Within parks and green spaces, the space around paths has been cleared to ensure there is enough room for people walking or cycling
Active Travel Fund Tranche 2
Later in 2020, the government announced another round of the Active Travel Fund, which allowed local authorities to bid for more money to encourage walking and cycling. The intention was to allow councils to make, where appropriate, the temporary measures set out in Tranche 1 into more permanent changes. These permanent changes would then expand the scope of measures into other areas of the borough.
In November 2020 the government awarded £650,000 to Warrington to deliver three schemes as part of the government's Active Travel Fund.
Scheme 1 - Central 6 Local Access Improvements
Scheme 2 - Lights Segregation Cycle Routes
Initial design and survey work on a segregated route along the A562 identified that the scheme was more complex and expensive than the funding would allow. Therefore other smaller schemes are being investigated around the town centre to provide light segregation cycle routes. More details about these routes will be provided as schemes progress.
Scheme 3 - Town Centre Active Travel
Active Travel Fund 3
Early in 2021 the government announced details of a third round of bidding of the Active Travel Fund ATF3. This would allow local authorities to develop and build transport schemes that would encourage people to walk and cycle more in their local area.
We submitted our ATF3 bid to the Department for Transport in August 2021 with details of schemes that we would like to see delivered. An announcement on the funding will be made by the government later in the year.
The schemes are:
- Scheme 1: A5061 Liverpool Road cycle scheme
- Scheme 2: Bewsey Road/Lovely Lane Cyclops junction improvement
- Scheme 3: Low Traffic Neighbourhoods phase 2
Following the award of funding we will be working with the DfT to develop the designs of these projects. The funding requirement is that the schemes must be delivered or substantially progressed by March 2023.
Let us know your views
In line with government guidance we will be carrying out public consultation surveys of the proposed schemes later in the year. The consultation will seek views from local residents as well as from key stakeholder bodies and organisations. We will be using guidance from the government on conducting opinion polls and surveys in order to obtain people’s views. These will help to inform the design of the schemes.